To Those Who Know Your Name

To Those Who Know Your Name

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9,10

So many of us claim or boast a relationship with God. We believe, or as I heard one author suggest: “Some of us believe, others we believe they believe.” But do we really believe? The Psalmist suggests that difficult times test our knowledge of God. We may attend church regularly, or even read the Scriptures and pray consistently, but do we know God in trouble?

Trouble comes with distractions. COVID-19 pushes us to focus on our health and safety. The economic downturn shifts our thoughts to our dwindling resources. The shelter-in-place order creates a dearth of external stimulation which galvanizes frustration and boredom. We play music, watch movies, eat more food, exercise more frequently and work longer hours if we have gone virtual and online. These are our new distractions created through the fears and anxieties that breed in trouble.

Sometimes we are so busy distracting ourselves from what we see around us that we fail to see the source of our faith and courage. We forget who our refuge is, therefore seeking refuge in other things. Somehow, we forget the name of the one who we believe, we believe. “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Our community confesses that Jesus is the center of our teaching, administration and service. In our third day as a partially virtual and online university, let us not for get our source and motivation. Let us, as Paul encourages: “cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 10:5). Because we know his name, we will shift our sight on him. He promised never to forsake us in all our troubles.

In my March 23 email to faculty and staff, I asked us to be salt and light to our wider community as well as to one another. Our Registrar Danielle Jeffries shares how she was able to do that:

“The other day I decided to stop for a coffee at Kuppa Joy on my way into work. This is not a usual practice for me as it is a bit out of my way, but I felt the need for some joy. I walked in and it was a ghost town. I was greeted by a kind gentleman who said I was the ‘lucky winner.’ I replied, ‘Oh my, what for?’ He smiled and said I was the first customer of the day…they open at 7:00 a.m. and it was after eight o’clock.

“He asked how I was doing and let him know I was one of the lucky ones who were still working. He smiled and said, ‘Me too, and I am so thankful.’ He said this with all the sincerity in the world. He then shared with me he was a full-time student; it was his last semester and graduation was just cancelled. I saw the heaviness on his face. I asked him where he attended school, he said Fresno Pacific! I smiled and said, ‘well that is a wonderful place to attend.’ He agreed and shared with me how great his experience has been over the past four years. He is an English major with an emphasis in secondary teaching. He said his dream is to be a high school English teacher.

“I shared words of encouragement with him. I told him to find unique ways to stay connected with his classmates and encourage them to keep working hard. He expressed concern with the uncertainty of his degree being posted…I was able to calm his nerves and speak into this. I explained to him that I work at FPU and that degree conferrals would still be processed on time. I let him know I will be praying for him and his classmates. I also told him commencement was only postponed and the university will find a time, when all of this has passed, to recognize all of our students and their hard work. He smiled, thanked me and I told him to stop by the Registrar’s Office to say ‘hi’ once everything gets back to normal.

“I was simply going about my morning. God knew where I needed to be, and I am thankful I listened.”

Connections
Joseph Jones, Ph.D.

Joseph Jones, Ph.D.

President